Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fish with Fermented Black Bean Sauce (Shih Chih Yu Chiu)

I adapted this recipe from Fu Pei Mei's Chinese Cook Book Volume II. I love the taste of fermented black beans - salty and fermentedly (I know that's not a word, but it's totally descriptive) punchy and pungent in a very good way. Dried fermented black beans are used in this recipe - not the prepared stuff a la Lee Kum Kee's garlic black bean sauce, although it is excellent in other dishes. The key is to soak the fermented black beans in hot water at least 30 minutes before using to leach out some of the excess salt. Tilapia is my fish of choice for this recipe, but Orange Roughy and Sole are good substitutes. 


Ingredients:
2 lbs. Tilapia, Orange Roughy or Sole filets, cut into 2" x 2" pieces

Marinade:
2 tbsp. rice wine
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cornstarch

4 tbsp. fermented black beans, soaked in hot water at least 30 minutes & drained
2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced ginger
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 fresh red (Fresno) chile, seeded and thinly sliced

Sauce:
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp. chicken base
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. rice wine
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar

3 cups vegetable oil for frying

1. Cut the fish into 2" x 2" pieces, place in a bowl and combine with the marinade ingredients. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes, but not more than an hour.

2. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup; set aside.

3. Heat 3 cups of oil over high heat in a wok or saute pan until very hot. Stir-fry the fish pieces in 2-3 batches (do not overcrowd in the pan) for about 30 seconds at a time and remove to a plate when done. 

4. Pour out all but 3 tbsp. of the oil in the same pan and reheat over medium high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and fermented black beans. Stir fry for about 10 seconds until fragrant. 

5. Add the fish to the pan, toss briefly, then stir in the sauce. Bring back up to a boil and cook for about 30 seconds or until the sauce has thickened. 

6. Gently stir in the chopped scallions and sliced red chiles. 

7. Plate the fish on a serving platter and serve with steamed white rice. 

Sauce, minced garlic, minced ginger, fermented black beans, chopped scallion and sliced red Fresno chiles. 

Tilapia marinated in rice wine, white pepper, sesame oil, salt and cornstarch. Marinate at least 30 minutes but no more than an hour. 

White pepper, sesame oil, rice wine, and fermented black beans.  

Saute the tilapia in 2-3 batches, about 30 seconds at a time or until just done. 

Remove the cooked fish to a plate.  

When all the fish has been cooked, pour out all but 3 tbsp. of oil in the pan and reheat over medium high heat. Saute the minced garlic, minced ginger, and fermented black beans for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.  

 Add the fish and stir in the sauce. Bring the mixture back up to a boil. Stir gently so as not to break up the fish pieces for about 30 seconds or until the sauce has thickened. 

Gently stir in the sliced scallions and chiles. 


Plate the fish on a serving platter and serve with steamed white rice. 

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